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Pothole with a car

Almost 12,000 miles of roads are blighted by potholes, according to a report carried out by LV=Road Rescue.

LV reports calculate that is the equivalent of travelling halfway across the world from London to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. The report also found that one motorist in seven has suffered vehicle damage as a result of driving on poorly maintained roads.

Freedom of Information requests to all borough, city and county councils revealed that there a 31,162 potholes awaiting repair on 11,564 miles of roads. As only two-thirds of local authorities supplied data the actual figures could be much higher.

Councils paid out a combined sum of more than £1.6 million in compensation in the 2014/2015 financial year to motorists who suffered vehicle damage as a result of potholes.

Selwyn Fernandes, managing director of LV= Road Rescue, said: Britain’s pothole epidemic is costing councils millions in compensation, but unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though things are improving. Drivers should protect themselves and their vehicles by reducing their speed and driving carefully on potholed roads, and also be reporting damaged roads to their local council.

Howard Robinson, chief executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) and a member of the Highways Magazine editorial board, said: The LV survey underlines the pothole epidemic following years of under-investment in our local road network. Local authorities are working hard to address the problem but funding restrictions mean that many can only carry out emergency patch-and-mend repairs rather the planned programmes of road maintenance which would prevent the potholes appearing in the first place.

Robinson continued: Despite government pledges of more funding for road maintenance it is not enough. The £12 billion backlog of repairs means that local authorities are running to stand still.

The LV findings underline the need for funding for road maintenance to be increased. Decades of under-investment cannot be addressed by a couple of headline grabbing pledges. What is needed is real long-term funding that enables councils to carry out long-term road maintenance programmes.

The table below shows 10 of the worst roads in the UK for potholes, according to responses to a Freedom of Information request:

Ranking Road name Local council No. of car damage claims in 2014/15
1 Blackwater Valley Road, Ash Vale Surrey County Council 31
2 Page Street (NW7) London Borough of Barnet 24
3 Halifax Road Sheffield Council 22
4 Westfield Road City of Edinburgh 19
5 Great Cambridge Road Hertfordshire County Council 13*
6 Copyhold Lane, East Grinstead West Sussex County Council 11
7 B4027 Oxfordshire County Council 10
8 Park Road, Hale Trafford Council 9
9 Kilbirnie Road, Lochwinnoch Renfrewshire Council 7
10 Broad Lane Bracknell Forest Council 5